20 Facts About the Italian Wolf

20 Facts About the Italian Wolf

By: Liz Flynn

​Italy is home to a diverse range of wildlife. One of the animals that inhabit this country is the Italian wolf and this is a different species to the European wolf. Here are some interesting facts about this wild animal.
  1.  The Italian wolf was identified as a sub-species in 1921 by zoologist Giuseppe Altobello.
  2. The Latin name for the Italian wolf is ‘canis lupus italicus’.
  3. They are an endangered species as there are just 500 wild Italian wolves.
  4. Once, this species was almost extinct die to hunting.
  5. Italian wolves are found in the western Alps and the Apennines.
  6. The Italian wolf differs to the European wolf because of the shape of its skill and the color of the pelt.
  7. They were only recognized as a separate species in 2002.
  8. The average wolf weighs approximately 30 kilograms. However, some males can weigh up to 45 kilograms.
  9. During the 1960s, approximately 400 wolves were killed.
  10. In 1971, ‘Operation Saint Francis’ was established. This was a wolf conservation program.
  11. The Italian wolf has played an important role in Italian mythology, including the story of Romulus and Remus.
  12. It was once considered good luck to see a wolf before going into battle.
  13. Myths relating to the Italian wolf can be traced back to the Sabine Tribe as they had a wolf cult.
  14. A cultural hatred of wolves stems from the Lombard invasion as the Germanic people feared wolves.
  15. In rural Italy, people still believed in werewolves into the 20th century.
  16. In folk medicine, parts of a wolf were often used in treatments for conditions including tonsillitis, rheumatism and baby colic. Wolf parts were also used to prevent miscarriages.
  17. Italian wolves are now also found in some areas of Switzerland and southern France.
  18. These animals are nocturnal hunters that prey on animals such as rabbits, hares, deer, wild boar and chamois.
  19. Italian wolf packs usually consist of one nuclear family.
  20. Mating takes place in mid-March and the gestation period is two months. A wolf will have a litter of between two and eight pups.
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